Mehmed Alajbegović

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Mehmed Alajbegović
5th Foreign Minister of the Independent State of Croatia
In office
5 May 1944 – 6 May 1945
Prime Minister Nikola Mandić
Leader Ante Pavelić
Preceded by Mladen Lorković
Succeeded by Office abolished
1st Minister of Welfare for Perished Lands
In office
11 October 1943 – 5 May 1944
Leader Ante Pavelić
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Meho Mehičić
Consul to the German Reich in Munich
In office
24 January 1942 – 11 October 1943
Personal details
Born (1906-05-07)7 May 1906
Bihać, Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary
Died 7 June 1947(1947-06-07) (aged 41)
Zagreb, SR Croatia, Yugoslavia
Political party Ustaše
Alma mater University of Zagreb
University of Algiers
Profession Lawyer
Religion Sunni Islam

Mehmed Alajbegović (7 May 1906 – 7 June 1947) was a Yugoslav lawyer and a government minister of the Axis puppet state known as the Independent State of Croatia. He was executed by Yugoslav authorities following the war.

Early life[edit]

Mehmed Alajbegović was born in Bihać on 7 May 1906, to a bey family. Both his father and grandfather had been mayors of Bihać. Alajbegović finished elementary school and high school in the town and moved to Zagreb in 1928, where he studied law at the University of Zagreb. He received his doctorate in 1934. During his studies, he visited many foreign cities and spent a great deal of time in Paris, where he worked as a Croatian-language teacher. After receiving his doctorate, Alajbegović was named judge at the district court of Prozor. He went on to study Sharia law at the University of Algiers, from which he graduated in 1940. Beginning in 1938, he was also a judge and secretary at the Administrative Court of Zagreb.[1]

World War II[edit]

Following the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (Croatian: Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH) in April 1941, Alajbegović left his role as professor of Islamic studies at the University of Zagreb and became a diplomat. In August 1941, he became a secretary in the NDH Foreign Ministry. On 27 January 1942, Alajbegović was named Consul to the German Reich in Munich. He held this position until 11 October 1943, when Poglavnik Ante Pavelić made him Minister of Welfare for Perished Lands.[1] In this position, Alajbegović was responsible for securing more than 300,000 mostly Muslim refugees from various parts of the NDH. Most were fleeing Chetnik atrocities in eastern Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Sandžak.[2]

On 5 May 1944 Alajbegović was named Foreign Minister.[2] The Germans interpreted this as an attempt to appease Muslims in the NDH.[3] On 18 and 19 September 1944, Alajbegović accompanied Pavelić on a diplomatic visit to Berlin and met with German leader Adolf Hitler. In the last months of World War II, he attempted to reconcile nationalist factions fighting in occupied Yugoslavia, such as the Montenegrin separatist leader Sekula Drljević, Slovene collaborationist leader Leon Rupnik and Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović, in order to form an anti-communist coalition to combat the powerful Yugoslav Partisans and the Red Army. Alajbegović remained Foreign Minister until 6 May 1945, when he fled Zagreb together with other high-ranking NDH officials. He left Yugoslavia and sought sanctuary in the Austrian town of Krumpendorf. He then moved to Salzburg, where he was arrested by Allied forces on 6 September 1945. He was briefly detained in a prisoner-of-war camp in Glasenbach. Alajbegović was extradited to Yugoslavia three days later, on 9 September.[2] While being interrogated by Yugoslav intelligence agents, he was asked why he joined the Ustaše. He responded, "the main motive that led me to join them was that they had an idea for a Croatian state. A great influence on me was made by cognition about the right of the Croatian people to have a state, and other motives were ignored."[4] Alajbegović was charged with various crimes and tried by the Supreme Court of the People's Republic of Croatia in May 1947. He was found guilty of collaboration and sentenced to death on 7 June 1947. He was executed the same day.[2]

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